Early in his career, Pavel Kolesnikov established himself as a virtuoso pianist in the Romantic tradition, and with the exception of an album of piano interpretations of Louis Couperin's harpsichord music, his recordings on Hyperion have been focused on Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and Tchaikovsky, all well-suited to his passionate style. An album of Chopin's impromptus, waltzes, mazurkas, and other short pieces may be considered de rigueur for most young pianists of his caliber, though Kolesnikov's Chopin is far from obligatory or routine, particularly in his close attention to details and his sense of musical proportions. For him, Chopin's embellishments and decorative elements are opportunities for delicate expressions, and his carefully graded dynamics suggest an emotional flow that feels as natural as breathing. Also important is the way he takes a whole piece into account, avoiding an episodic treatment and shaping sections into balanced, continuous wholes, that are satisfying statements, lacking nothing. This Hyperion recording was made in 2018 at the concert hall at the Wyastone Estate in Monmouth, and the sound is clean and warm, ideally matched to Kolesnikov's refined palette.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson